From HQ

The Common Gene Variation That Might Be Affecting Your Folate Intake

2 min read

Hey there—we’re Ritual, a health company on a mission to inspire women to be their best from the inside out. Learn more about our reinvented multivitamins, which we formulated with essential nutrients to help fill the gaps in your diet.

Genes are tricky, especially when it comes to your body’s ability to utilize nutrients. Not to worry—there are certain forms of vitamins that work, regardless of genetic factors. One of the most common examples of this is folate, a nutrient that we all need for DNA synthesis and brain health. Because of a common genetic variation, many of us (some stats say up to 40%) have a hard time processing synthetic folic acid, a form of folate very common in vitamins. This can lead to folate shortfalls, which manifests as fatigue, a feeling of weakness, a sour mood and some more serious health effects. So how do you find the best form for all genetic types? Let’s get into it.

What is the MTHFR gene variation?

The MTHFR gene controls the production of an enzyme called methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase. MTHFR enzyme helps the body process and convert folate (also known as vitamin B9). This conversion helps the body create amino acids that we need to build proteins and other essential compounds. People with an MTHFR gene mutation have a highly reduced ability to convert folic acid or even folate into the form that the body needs to create those amino acids.

How do I know if I have it?

To find out if you have the gene variation, you have to ask your doctor for the genetic test for MTHFR gene polymorphisms. They might also test for additional genetic changes to MTHFR and other genes that work with folate. They may also recommend genetic counseling so you can understand what the results mean, and how it may affect your health later on in life.

What kind of folate do you need if you have the variation?

The MTHF form of folate, which we use in Ritual products, is easier for your body to use if you have the MTHFR genetic variation. MTHF makes it possible for your body to create amino acids without doing all the conversions that is difficult to do with a gene mutation. Ritual uses Quatrefolic, a patented form of MTHF called 6S-5-methyltetrahydrofolate glucosamine salt. The glucosamine, found in all of your cells, helps stabilize the MTHF so it reaches your cells in the active form and is easier to utilize.

How common is that type of folate in supplements?

Not common at all, and very hard to find in multivitamins; less than 1% contain MTHF and it’s often mixed with less active folic acid, dampening the benefits of the MTHF.